The harness has quite an upright position and the fit is snug and compact. Photos: Marcus King
Harnesses and reserves, Reviews

Gin Switch 2 review (reversible harness)

Friday 30 June, 2023

This lightweight reversible harness is designed for everyday use. By Charlie King

The Switch 2 is a split-legs design with an under-seat reserve container and an airbag. It’s a multi-purpose harness, for flying thermals and going XC as well as for hike-and-fly. Available in a single size, to fit pilots from 155cm-190cm tall, it weighs 2.4kg.

Like their other harnesses, the Switch 2 is made from Gin’s soft-feel grey fabric, which looks and feels really nice while also being durable. Gin’s website says the material is a ‘70D blend’ – a light and durable nylon and polyester fabric, and that the internal seams are finished with a bias to extend the harness’s life.

Gin Switch 2

My entire kit easily fits inside the 80l rucksack

Hiking mode

The 80l rucksack is a good size for my kit. I could fit my XS BGD Base 2 Lite, clothes, helmet, radio and my SLR camera inside easily and it was comfortable and stable to hike with. The whole rucksack geometry worked well for me. There’s lots of adjustment, the chest strap is on sliders so it can be raised or lowered and the weight-optimised hip belt does a good job.

My only criticism is that it’s a bit lacking in pockets – there’s only one side pocket. It’s nice and stretchy but not that deep. It’s perfect for a phone and a small water bottle, but I’d have preferred a deeper one for a larger bottle, or (actually, and) a second one on the other side.

Gin Switch 2

Bottle holders stow away in the shoulder strap

It does have netting water-bottle holders that stow in zipped compartments on each of the shoulder straps. The netting holders are quite deep and narrow in shape. They perfectly accommodate 500ml soft-drink type bottles, but I found they wobble a bit when you walk and get in the way of your arm-swing, and it’s also a bit awkward to get the bottles in and out. I preferred to carry my water bottle in the side pocket.

Gin Switch 2

Semi-automatic Edelrid buckles

Harness mode

The rucksack is very easy to flip into harness mode, and there’s an extra flap of material between the harness and the rucksack so if the rucksack’s exterior gets damaged, it does not affect the harness structure.

It’s always worth taking your time to hang a new harness in a hanger to adjust it before you fly it. I found the Switch 2 most comfortable with the shoulder straps pulled in quite tight, which brought it into quite an upright position. If it was looser or too laid back I could feel a pull at the back when I used the speed bar.

This went away completely when it was set up properly. The seated position is quite different to being in a pod, for instance, but I actually really like an upright position and I got used to it very quickly.

Even though the shoulder straps were pulled in snugly, the lightness of the harness and the movement allowed by the leg pads meant it did not feel restrictive on launch, in fact quite the opposite. The speed bar has plastic toggles to keep it out of the way for launch – a  simple but effective solution to the problem of dangling speed bars. I got into the habit of pushing the bar out straight away after take-off so it was ready for use, and I didn’t get my hands caught up in the slack line at the top. The bar is easy to push, and because the leg pads separate your legs, it felt like pushing the bar with a yoga block between your legs. Allow me to name it Flying Staff Pose.

Gin Switch 2

Nitinol and foam pre-inflate the airbag

The hangpoints are coloured red one side, blue the other, and the strap system uses Edelrid’s semi-automatic triple-lock buckles. The buckles are very easy to open and close with a little tilting technique. Between the strap system, the close fit and the upright position of the harness, I felt very securely held in place, like I was strapped into a child’s car seat. The harness feels quite stable, not overly weight-shifty.

The protector is an airbag, which has titanium rods and a thin layer of foam to pre-inflate it. The air intake is at the front, below the pilot’s legs. It all looks very slim and neat in the air, definitely no billowy, baggy airbag. Despite its slim profile, the airbag comes down well below your feet for good protection.

Gin Switch 2

The harness is sleek with good protection

In flight

In flight I found the harness very comfortable, and the leg pads supported my legs well. At around 170cm I’m in the middle of the height range on the specs. The leg pads are less deep than the seat in my Advance Success 4 harness, I felt I was properly supported, and I had some two-hour plus flights in the harness.

There’s plenty of storage space in the back pocket, and Gin sell a shoulder-mounted radio pouch, but I did miss having a pocket you can access in the air – that sleek, clean exterior is nice but it could do with a pocket to stash a GoPro in!

The verdict

All in all, I think the Switch 2 is a great reversible harness for pilots who want a lightweight set-up with an open harness that’s made for hiking with. It’s light, durable and the rucksack is well sized for everyday lightweight kit: generous on space without being too big. I can also see it being a good choice as a tandem passenger harness for hike-and-flyers. It’s light and hiking friendly, and allows the passenger to carry some of the kit.


Gin say: “A multipurpose tool that’s simple to use and to adjust to fit all sizes At just 2.4 kg, it’s light and compact without compromising on durability.”
Pilot level: training and up
Sizes: one size
Height (cm): 155 to 190
Weight (kg) 2.4
Certification: EN / LTF / CE


Published in issue 238 (April 2023)

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